Hebrews 13:20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,21equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)
If you have attended church for very long, or been in many small groups or Bible studies, you have most probably encountered the illustration of we Christians being sheep, and in need of a shepherd. I didn’t want my brain to go on autopilot as I chewed on this passage; I wanted to look at it with fresh eyes.
I thought, ok, this sounds great and all, but what keeps this blessing from “working” consistently in our lives? Am I the only one who struggles with feelings of “I don’t think I can take much more,” or “this is way over my head!”
Maybe the problem is that I, the sheep, am standing up on my hind legs (which position I was not created to sustain), grabbing the shepherd’s staff with my hoof, and trying to be the shepherd instead of being a sheep –and I don’t have opposable thumbs with which to hold the staff!! Does anyone else see a problem here?
God ordained that we sheep already have a shepherd. Jesus Christ is the shepherd; the position is filled; He has no intention of going on vacation or retiring. I am a sheep; God wants me to be His sheep. God does not want me to shepherd my own life — I don’t have the thumbs for the job.
God promised to give me what I need to do His will, what is pleasing in His sight, what will bring Him glory. I don’t set the agenda; I don’t just go my own way (if you are starting to hum melodies based on Isaiah 53, so am I).
So, why do I want to be the shepherd of my own life, when I am not equipped for that, and it will cause frustration and failure? Is it because I think my spot in the flock is too difficult? Because I want to be another sheep, not the sheep that God has made me? Isn’t this just simply pride — wanting to do my own thing my own way and not listening to anybody tellin’ me what to do. . . now, how much like a 2-3 yr old does that sound?!
I think I’ll be chewing on this passage for a while. . .